In order to make healthy decisions, teenagers need a minimum level of self-esteem and self-confidence. This allows us to formulate our own view without being influenced by undue pressure from others. Young people need to be given guidelines for how to maintain a healthy relationship. Adolescents should understand what makes a positive relationship and what makes a bad one. Teenagers should be able to analyse the benefits and risks of relationships involving different degrees of sexual intimacy.
A man grows up fully aware of the different reactions of men and women to sexual opportunities. Although these differences are rarely expressed explicitly there are many implicit references to women’s lower interest in sexual matters. So a man is naturally on the defensive or on the offensive when approaching a potential sexual partner. He knows that he has to take the initiative and persuade a woman to engage in sex. Exceptions include encounters between male homosexuals and where men pay for sex.
Men define an attractive woman in terms of her amenability to intercourse. From the male perspective, a sexually passive woman is an advantage because then a man can focus on what he wants. A man overlooks the fact that women rarely initiate sex and that they lose interest in sex over time.
One of the problems with the concept of consent is that a woman’s role in sex is essentially to allow a man to take his pleasure from her body. To some degree a man appreciates not just a lover who takes some sexual initiative but also a lover who gives him permission to engage in some of the more taboo activities that appeal to him. A woman can enjoy this scenario because she abdicates herself from any need to make effort. She can just lie there and enjoy the sensations of being stimulated by a lover even though the feelings may not culminate in a climax.
The vast majority of heterosexual activity is based on intercourse that ends with male ejaculation. Anyone may decide to remain a virgin or be celibate for periods of their life. Couple’s may decide to delay starting a sexual relationship for various reason. A woman’s amenability to exploring sex play depends on the pleasure she enjoys without needing to put in too much effort. With good communication, a woman can enjoy the opportunity to explore sex play especially as she gains maturity and experience.
When you are the receiver of intercourse your focus is quite different. You are not touting your sex organ and your responsiveness. You are touting your willingness to be penetrated. A man is always projecting himself as an aroused and responsive person because his sexuality depends on his performance. With a female partner he cannot be a receiver (unless she uses a dildo to penetrate his anus). So if he’s not erect and not able to penetrate, what does a man do? The idea that he focuses on a woman’s arousal does not go down well.
Women’s caring instincts can cause them to become controlling or mothering, which most men rebel against. No man wants to be controlled by a woman. Sex gives women control, which makes men feel vulnerable. Some women use sex to manipulate men. Even if they don’t, men interpret women’s indifference to sex as a personal insult. When men feel exploited through sex they become aggressive and take it out on women.
When you are not aroused by a person, you see them as a social being. Heterosexual men see men as social beings. Homosexual men see women as social beings. All women (regardless of orientation) see everyone as a social rather than a sexual person. Men only find some people sexual: those they are attracted to. Men are not usually attracted sexually to members of their own family. Incest occurs when men do not have another available sexual outlet. There may also be sexual feelings between siblings. When sexual activity occurs between adults and children in institutions, it is called sexual abuse.
Modern action movies or thrillers give some indication of just how violent and ruthless men can be. Of course all men are not like that. Nevertheless, the few men who are dangerous cause women to be wary of men in general because it’s not possible to tell the difference until you know a man well. Women do not feel comfortable being in intimate situations (such as a bedroom or anywhere where they are alone) with a man before she knows him well. Any man can simply put a woman in an awkward position by taking advantage of the seclusion of the place to force himself on her.
This is another reason why women are less enthusiastic about casual sex than men are. There are many more men who have deviant or unusual sexual behaviours than women. When it comes to our own personal decisions, we should do what we feel comfortable doing not what others (even a lover) tell us we should do or want to do. Men may expect to always get their own way with a woman. But even though a woman is in a sexual relationship with a man, she still retains her individual rights over her own body, what she does with it and what a lover can do with it.
If you are a man whose partner is less interested in sex than you, start paying attention to your friendship. Many women are wired this way—they can’t get turned on unless they feel close to you. (Michele Weiner-Davis 2010)